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Payback time

Matt Lozar | Tuesday, December 2, 2003

The Golden Eagles had one date on their mind heading into Monday’s game against the Irish – Dec. 2, 2002.

One year ago today, a hot-shooting Notre Dame team dominated Marquette en route to an easy 21-point win at the Joyce Center.

Marquette got its chance for payback Monday night when the Golden Eagles capitalized on their own hot shooting – defeating the Irish 71-58 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

For the game, Marquette shot 47 percent overall and 53 percent on 3-pointers while the Irish shot 31 percent from the field.

After scorching the Golden Eagles last season for 32 points last season, Irish guard Chris Thomas was the total opposite Monday night, going 4-of-19 from the field, including 3-of-14 from behind the arc, and scoring only 11 points.

Steve Novak led Marquette (5-0) with a career-high 21 points and was 5-of-7 on 3-pointers. The Irish (2-1) made just five 3-pointers on 30 attempts.

Marquette took control of the game from the start, going on a 20-2 run at one point and making nine of its first 16 field goal attempts to eventually build a 34-11 lead. The Irish started 1-of-11 on 3-pointers.

In the first half, the Irish had trouble getting the ball into Torin Francis as the Golden Eagles concentrated their defense on denying entry passes. With two minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the half, the Irish had just five field goals compared to six turnovers.

The Irish came out in the second half with a higher defensive intensity and were more committed to getting Francis the ball in the low post. It appeared at times coach Mike Brey wasn’t going to let his team take a shot without getting Francis a touch in the possession.

The Irish made a couple of runs, going on an 8-0 spurt to get to 48-37, but Marquette countered with a quick 7-1 run of its own to push the lead back to 17.

A 9-0 run got the Irish closer at 57-47 and set them up for a late push. With less than two minutes remaining, Marquette missed its second consecutive front end of a one-and-one, and the Irish were down 65-58. Thomas brought the ball up court, pump-faked his defender into the air, but instead of jumping into his man, ducked around him and almost banked in a 3-pointer.

Marquette grabbed the rebound and iced the game away with free throws.

Jordan Cornette continued his poor shooting from the outside, missing all four of his 3-point attempts. Chris Quinn couldn’t buy a basket either, finishing 2-of-11 and 1-of-8 from behind the arc. Both Quinn and Cornette fouled out late in the game.

Scott Merritt had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Marquette while Travis Diener scored 12 points.

Notes:Thomas led the Irish in their 78-64 win over Mount St. Mary’s Saturday at the Joyce Center.

He struggled early, missing four of his first five shots, but then he found the hot hand and made 6-of-7 throughout the rest of the game. Thomas finished with a game-high 22 points.

Francis had 13 points, but only six rebounds. Cornette had a rough afternoon, shooting 2-of-10, including 1-of-5 from behind the arc, finishing with five points.